Impact of FDG-PET and -PET/CT imaging in the clinical decision-making of ovarian carcinoma: an evidence-based approach

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Abstract

The most definitive role of fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG)-PET/computed tomography (CT) at present is surveillance and detecting recurrence in patients who have completed primary therapy but demonstrate a rising serum tumor marker (e.g., CA-125 levels). In this scenario, PET/CT demonstrates high sensitivity and accuracy in detecting lesions that are otherwise challenging, and appears superior (with less interobserver variability) compared with CT alone. Despite the fact that peritoneal deposits may be missed by PET/CT, the overall performance is better than CT alone. FDG-PET does not play a significant additional role in the primary diagnosis of ovarian cancers; however, the role of combined PET/CT modality has recently begun to be re-explored for initial disease staging, particularly because PET/CT can pick up small unsuspected lesions and thereby provide a better disease assessment of the whole body in a single examination. The baseline PET/CT also subserves an important role for future monitoring of therapy response. Therapy monitoring by PET could help to optimize neoadjuvant therapy protocols and to avoid ineffective therapy in nonresponders early in its course, although PET/CT has cost–effectiveness issues that need further evaluation. The prognostic value of FDG-PET/CT has been investigated in the following areas: in the preoperative setting to predict optimal cytoreduction; to assess the value of a positive FDG-PET following primary surgery; and when employed as a replacement for second-look laparotomy following completion of primary surgery and chemotherapy. The data, although promising, are still sparse in all the three domains for a definite recommendation.

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